Santa Cruz de la Sierra
The city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra was founded by
Chávez on February 26, 1560. Chávez named the new city in honor of his beloved native
city in Extremadura, Spain. The city originally lay 220 km east of its current location,
on the shores of the Piraí river. But, by the end of the 16th century, the city was moved
to its present position, 50 km east of the Cordillera Oriental foothills.
Santa Cruz supplied the rest of the colony with cotton, rice,
sugar and fruit. It was a prosperous city until the late 1800's. Then, transport routes
opened up between Peru's sea ports and La Paz, making imported products cheaper than those
transported by mule from Santa Cruz.
In the 1950's Santa Cruz was connected through roads and
highways with other major centers. Also the completion of the railway line to Brazil in
the mid-1950s opened trade routes to the east. Tropical agriculture (sugar, rice, cotton,
and soybean plantations) prospered and the city entered a period of expansion and economic
growth that continues to the present day. The city is connected by railways with Brazil
and Argentina, and by road with Cochabamba, the Chaco, and Trinidad.
By November 1996, according to data from the Instituto
Nacional de Estadística (INE), the city of Santa
Cruz de la Sierra had a population of 904,376 inhabitants.
Located at an altitude of 416 meters above sea level, Santa Cruz
has a sunny and semi-tropical weather, with an average temperature of 21C (70F) on winter
and 32C (90F) on summer. During winter, rainfall occurs in short downpours, but on summer
a single deluge can last for days. Santa Cruz also experiences heavy and chilly winds
called surazos that blow in from the Argentine pampas.
||From Cochabamba (through Chimoré
- Yapacani): 469 Km by rubble and asphalt road
||From Cochabamba (through Epizana):
500 Km by rubble and asphalt road
||From Trinidad: 550 Km by rubble
and asphalt road
||From Sucre: 610 Km by rubble and
||From Puerto Suárez (Brazilian
border): 591 Km by rubble and asphalt road
||Pocitos (Argentina) - Yacuiba -
||Corumbá (Brazil) - Puerto Suárez
- Santa Cruz
From any main city in the country through the following
airlines: LAB, AEROSUR, and TAM.
From the US via LAB, American Airlines
||Piraí River: The
riverbanks are ideal for weekend picnics
One of the best zoos in Bolivia, features birds, reptiles, mammals, from the region
as well as endangered and exotic species.
||Plaza 24 de Septiembre:
Ideal for relaxing and watching sloths hanging in the tall trees.
||The Cathedral: Located on
the Plaza 14 de Septiembre, the cathedral dates back to the early 1600's. The cathedral
museum displays religious art work, gold and silver artifact from the Jesuit missions.
||Museo de Historia Natural:
Displays a collection of flora and fauna of the region.
||Lomas de Arena de El
Palmar: Located 16 Km south of Santa Cruz these large sand dunes and fresh water
lagoons are ideal for weekend picnics and swimming.
||Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado:
Really worth seeing, this spectacular natural park, about 440 Km northeast of Santa Cruz,
has an incredible scenery of waterfalls, rivers, rainforests and a wide variety of flora
and fauna (alligators, pink dolphins, caimans, river otters, tapirs, spider monkeys,
Group of Jesuit missions located east of Santa
Cruz, across the Río Grande. Founded between
1696 and 1760, composed by the missions of San Javier, San Ramón, San Ignacio, Concepción, San Rafael, Santa Ana, and San José de Chiquitos.
The missions were declared "World Heritage
Sites" by the UNESCO World Heritage
Committee in 1990.
||El Fuerte de
Samaipata: (Fortress) 120 Km southwest from Santa Cruz. The entire Inca ruins complex of around
40 hectares was declared a "World
Heritage Site" by the UNESCO World Heritage
Committee in 1998.
See also the following related sections:
WHERE TO GO?
Index of Cities:
THE BOOK CLUB
Going to Bolivia?